Managing process vs. people
August 7, 2002
I’m going to try here to begin to characterize what I mean when I talk about management, so that I can speak more precisely because what mangement is, because it’s becoming a central theme.
Management, I was going to write, must involve interaction with people.Now I think that it must involve, but is not the totality. Processes, expenses, assembly lines can all be managed as well, although in this case it is a question of: how do I interact with this thing so that I get what I want?
In the particular case of expenses/accounts, they are “managed” in the sense that they are watched (closely) - here management must involve action - and their size is controlled by simple manipulation.
So management is definitely an active process of engagement. Also I think there must be a drive toward understanding, only because that is key to etting what you want out ofa relationship.
Because management is active, it must also involve this idea of “relationship”, whether good, bad apparent, acknowledged, whatever. The CEO has a relationship to everyone in the company, if only because everyone reports to them, and they report to the Boad. But there are not necessarily links between the board and day-to-day operations, nor are there lateral relationship spanning most organizational distances (relatinships of accountability?)
Is accountability also a key feature of management? As mentioned above, is the defining characeristic of the relationships I am outlining that they are accountability relationships? What does that mean? Is that healthy?